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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

Mitsugi Moriguchi’s Interview

Mitsugi Moriguchi, born in Nagasaki, Japan, is a hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor). He was nine years old when the US dropped the “Fat Man” bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. As a member of the Nagasaki Testimonial Society, Moriguchi collects the stories of other hibakusha. His work with other members of the Nagasaki Testimonial Society culminated in the publication of the book, Voices of the A-Bomb Survivors: Nagasaki, in 2009. In 2018, he visited Hanford Site, where the plutonium for the Fat Man bomb was produced.

In this interview, Moriguchi discusses how he survived, how his sister suffered from cancer and eventually died years after the bombing, and how some of his brother’s children were born with birth defects. He also reflects on his visits to Dayton, Ohio, where the B-29 that carried the bomb, Bockscar, is exhibited, and Hanford’s B Reactor.

James A. Schoke’s Interview (2014)

James A. Schoke was a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at the University of Chicago during the Manhattan Project. He worked for the instrument group, inventing instruments to detect uranium and alpha emitters and travelled around the country to train scientists to use and maintain his instruments. In this interview, Schoke discusses his encounter with George Koval, a health physicist and Soviet Spy who infiltrated the Manhattan Project’s top secret facility in Dayton, Ohio. Schoke recalls meeting with Koval several times at Dayton to help train him on instruments that were used to detect radiation at laboratory facilities.

Mary Lou Curtis’s Interview

Mary Lou Curtis joined the Manhattan Project in 1943 and worked at the top-secret polonium production laboratory in Dayton, Ohio. Curtis developed new methods for counting and measuring polonium, which had only recently been discovered. In fact, it was Curtis who measured the polonium that went into the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. She also discusses the difficulties of being one of the few women scientists to work at the laboratory.